Top 10 Films About Nonconformists
#10 - BARFLY [1987]
BARFLY [1987] Image

"This is a world where everybody's gotta do something. Ya know, somebody laid down this rule that everybody's gotta do something, they gotta be something. You know, a dentist, a glider pilot, a narc, a janitor, a preacher, all that . . . Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don't wanna do. All the things that I don't wanna be. Places I don't wanna go, like India, like getting my teeth cleaned. Save the whale, all that, I don't understand that . . ." [READ THE REVIEW]

#09 - INTO THE WILD [2007]
INTO THE WILD [2007] Image

"If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed."

#08 - V FOR VENDETTA [2005]
V FOR VENDETTA [2005] Image

"Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid . . ."


"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe . . . hear it? . . . Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."

#06 - FIVE EASY PIECES [1970]

"My life, I mean . . . Most of it doesn't add up to much that I could relate as a way of life that you'd approve of . . . I'd like to be able to tell you why, but I don't really . . . I mean, I move around a lot because things tend to get bad when I stay . . ."

#05 - FIGHT CLUB [1999]
FIGHT CLUB [1999] Image

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables . . . slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off . . ."

#04 - EASY RIDER [1969]
EASY RIDER [1969] Image

"I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you and talk to you and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em."

#03 - HAROLD AND MAUDE [1971]

"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully."

#02 - COOL HAND LUKE [1967]
COOL HAND LUKE [1967] Image

"Anybody here? Hey, Old Man. You home tonight? Can You spare a minute. It's about time we had a little talk. I know I'm a pretty evil fellow . . . killed people in the war and got drunk . . . and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much . . . but even so, You've got to admit You ain't dealt me no cards in a long time. It's beginning to look like You got things fixed so I can't never win out. Inside, outside, all of them . . . rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in? Old Man, I gotta tell You. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right. All right . . ."


"And now they're telling me I'm crazy over here because I don't sit there like a goddamn vegetable. Don't make a bit of sense to me. If that's what's bein' crazy is, then I'm senseless, out of it, gone-down-the-road, wacko. But no more, no less, that's it."

Forgotten Movie Classics

User Comments - Add a Comment
John - 2008-02-06 14:42:27
Where are Peter Gibbons and Office Space? Come on now!

donny dee - 2008-02-06 15:40:13
The Dude? Withnail and I ?

Amy - 2008-02-06 20:33:40
The quote from Harold and Maude is mostly a Thoreau quote. So I guess Thoreau is the real non-conformist here.
Don Hays - 2008-02-06 20:59:55
Dead Poets Society is hardly about non conformist these boys come from the most comfortable of social positions you can be .(Only the Ultra Rich can afford Prep schools like the one in the film),and you know the teacher just went on to another prep school, I sorry but you cannot be a non- conformist while you luxuriate in the lap of conformity
Hunter - 2008-02-06 21:45:07
Well, I hate to inform you of this, but you are wrong on about half these movies. Actually, all of them. They are conformist, and here is why. When you have a person( or groups of persons) that try to not conform with society, all that is happening is that they are conforming to not conform. Therefor by default, being a nonconformist is really just the same as being a conformist. Just because an idea is new, not popular, irregular, or odd, does that make it a nonconformist action.
Spencer - 2008-02-07 08:11:57
Come on, it is about not conforming to the masses, conforming to non-conformative culture does not constitute being part of the majority lifestyle. That argument sounds like something a conformist would say to make himself feel better Furthermore, I believe non-conformity doesn't have anything to do with what level of society one is born into. Prep students are born into privileges, but still seeing the problems with our society takes a truly open-minded individual. Don't let envy over shadow character judgement.
dana42 - 2008-02-07 08:36:15
I must say that I agree with Hunter. However, I love this list and think a better title would be something like " A Current State of affairs" or something more related to the political shenanigans we're currently in the middle of. Every one of those quotes speaks to our current situation as a people and a country. I felt these quotes reminded me of ideals that need attention. Freedom is not free and our government does not support our total freedom. There is a trick to leading people and keeping the herd on track. Most of the time it's accomplished through the television, however our schools, where our children spend most of their day, are full of useless information and lies. And where the schools leave off, religion picks up. We are constantly being told on a minute by minute basis, that we are not capable of fending for ourselves and survivning without the support and infrastructure of society. At our core we all know different. All we need is to set out with some basic tools and supplies. We can find and build what we need from there. Unfortunately we will and always do end up "civilized". From history we know that is not always a good thing. In order to have order there must be an agreement among the majority of individuals to behave and act a certain way. And damn if we don't get conformity. It's unavoidable. As humans it is one of our best and worst traits and qualities. We do it because we cannot help ourselves. We flow as water does, taking the easiest route to nowhere. More power to the nonconformist for chosing to go another way!! This ends my random rant du jour. Thanks for reading.
Adam - 2008-02-07 12:20:34
Right on, Spencer!
wildman - 2008-02-09 15:07:44
what about SLC Punk! that was a great movie

Colin - 2008-02-09 17:02:05
Fight club is a conformist film- In my school you aren't cool if you haven't seen it and liked it. That's conformist, ain't it?
The Dude - 2008-02-10 09:52:18
The Big Lebowski should definately be on that list. Apparently I must be a non conformist for thinking so.
Izabael DaJinn - 2008-02-14 22:21:39
Into the Wild is about a dumb guy who didn't bother to ask for a map before setting out into the Alaskan wilderness and thereby dying within easy walking distance of supplies and safety. Sean Penn made it into a compelling drama though.
Razmath - 2008-02-15 15:44:10
I think some of yo are missing the point a little, it's not that these films ARE non-conformist, it's that they're ABOUT non-conformists, and I'd say that statement is largely true in these cases.
Wolfie Rankin - 2008-02-15 21:16:49
I would have liked to have seen "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" in there somewhere.

Matt - 2008-02-16 12:41:01
Being non-conformist doesn't automatically make you a conformist to a different ideal. Thats a semantic argument at best. The world doesn't work that way. The positions of conformists and non-conformists are decided by the accepted social norms at a given time. If a thought, an idea, or a cause is generated that is outside of the accepted values of society, something that is different, then it is non-conformist inherently. Yes, in a sense everyone conforms to something, and no one is truly totally unique, but whether your beliefs and values align with the majority of a society or a marginal few are what identifies conformity and non-conformity.
Digital Bob - 2008-02-20 12:24:05
Hunter... you're an idiot
Robert - 2008-02-20 21:01:40
You are so on point. Review of your choices: Truth be told, I can understand. No bout a doubt!
Val - 2008-02-21 15:15:26

Anonymous - 2008-02-29 05:12:45
Pump up the Volume

Saul - 2008-03-04 17:31:05
I Believe withnail and I deserves a high ranked place on this list.

morishige - 2008-03-10 09:47:13
since i read the "into the wild" book, i love this film. alex supertramp makes me realize that "happiness only real when shared" and led me to a conclusion that we must to respect each other..
bryson - 2008-03-22 13:38:40
Hunter, please shut up. the intended meaning of non-conformist here is obviously not conforming to the general norms and morrays of society at large. if you want to get into semantics and try to sound smarter than you are then yes, technically, not conforming to society is conforming to non-conformism. that's stupid though because the non-conformists are a much smaller, more divere group than the conformists and they would much rather be part of the former than the latter so their objective is reached even when your narrow interpretation of the idea is applied. go die.
People Eat S*** On YouTube - 2008-04-03 02:38:03
hunter, that is exsactly what it means, in fact it is what you said makes virtually no sence at all. Look at it in "REALITY", not from your throne on the moon of false wisdom. There is society, government, taxes, rules, guidlines in "REALITY", a man can be put in a cage in "REALITY", and nonconform means a person whose behavior or VIEWS do not conform to the PREVAILING ideas or practices protester, rebel, renegade, schismatic, freethinker, apostate, heretic, individualist, free spirit, maverick, eccentric, original, deviant, misfit, dropout, outsider, a person who doesnt agree, good or bad, mostly bad.
Dustin - 2008-04-09 22:27:51
Hunter, you're completely wrong. Conforming to nonconformity only makes you a conformist if your doing it for no other reason than to conform. Most of these movies, the non-conformist is doing.....whatever, because thats what they believe is right. example? A nonconformist is the one who goes to hot topic because they like the music and clothes associated with the store. a conformist is the one who goes to hot topic just because other people do.
Dinesh - 2008-04-10 08:36:28
Its interesting to notice that Jack Nicholson has worked on many of them.
Pyrotoxinx - 2008-05-19 22:05:19
Um... What about Donnie Darko? He was pretty nonconformist. Not to mention it was a kick-ass movie.
pillophyte - 2008-06-13 14:23:26
Apparently this entire list was photoshopped
Nope - 2008-06-16 06:02:49
Arguing 'semantics' aside, I'll take the difficult end of the debate. Conformity is relative, much like everything else in the universe, it all depends on where you stand. If I were to grow up in a trailer park, receive an academic scholarship and complete my doctoral thesis on the subject of fruit flies, I would be a non-conformist to the blue collared, good natured ilk of my homestead. If I were to grow up in the suburbs, and attend technical training programs through community colleges, only to drop out and pump gas at a shit hole service station in a bad neighborhood (with or without a drug addiction), I would not be conforming to the expectations of my associated peer group at one end of the spectrum (the white collared end), and on the other (vastly poorer) end, I would be conforming. Depending on you position within the space-time continuum, as well as your perception of your position, and the position of those observing you; you both are and are not a conformist all at once. Until someone peeks inside your box to cast judgment that is. At that point, you either sell out or buy in, your state is defined. Much like a well known physicist's cat. This rule of subjective reasoning applies to all logic, but especially to cultural norms. A simple guide to aide in easy reference for future inter web bantering, this applies to: L337, cool, in, hip (ster or not), scene, wise, sell-out, floor crosser, etc. etc. etc.
KesheR - 2008-07-26 09:47:25
As far as I can see, there is a lack of Hispanic movies and philosophers in this website. I can name a few for you. For example, the movies of Adolfo Aristarain are extremely non-conformist and anarchist. "Smoking Room" is a Spanish movie against offices and modern jobs, way better than "Office Space". "The revolution will not be televised" is a Canadian film but it focuses on the coup taken by the White House against Hugo Chávez in 2002. "The Take" is also Canadian but it's about anarchosyndicalist factories at Argentina ("Fasinpat" is also around that subject). Fernando Fernán-Gómez is a well-known Spanish anarchist, a terrific actor and director. When he died just a months ago, an anarchist flag was covering his coffin (in front of the president of Spain!). His film "El viaje a ninguna parte" is a really god one to start with. Here is my mail for you:
anarchy17 - 2008-09-16 17:22:26

how could the film if... have been left out! shocking

Mark in Tucson - 2008-12-11 11:48:47

All your nonconformists are the same. Try Housekeeping for a victory over conformity.

Maxime Gagnon - 2008-12-20 13:02:31

The Idiots, Lars Von Trier Les Idiots

frank beaumont - 2008-12-24 03:23:33

Five Easy Pieces is terrific cinema. If film can explore conformism one should probably watch Bertolucci's CONFORMIST, Coppola's CONVERSATION, Altman's LONG GOODBYE, Cassavetes' GLORIA/CHINESE BOOKIE/any other, Mallick's BADLANDS, Lynch's BLUE VELVET, Leigh's NAKED, Herzog's STROSZEK, Tarkovsky's NOSTALGIA, Peckinpah's BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA.

Jay - 2009-01-07 22:30:28

How about "the Wild One" with Marlon Brando?

Ska - 2009-01-21 12:08:07

Though I pretty much have to agree, I think Dead Poets Society should have been higher on the list, it was extremely moving. But I am glad that it did, in fact, make it to the list. Also I was thinking something like SLC Punk, Girl Interrupted, and Wild Hogs. All of which are good movies that handle non-conformity.

Dan - 2009-03-08 16:50:21

Spencer, you are absolutely correct. Hunter, one is not a conformist because he/she conforms to a non-conformist group. Non-conformity is about deviating from the mainstream path of a society or populous. I have to say that the only two movies that have something to do with non-conformity are Dead Poet's Society and Into the Wild.

how about - 2009-03-16 13:08:48

Brazil? or 1984?

Normal Person - 2009-10-12 21:15:15

Honestly, do you guys read this crap before you post it? Or is it just about stringing the longest bunch of nonsense? douchebags.

personman - 2009-10-26 01:33:36

I'm surprised nobody mentioned Taxi Driver in these comments. Travis can't fit into society and steadily loses it. Love that movie.

Rev Mikey - 2009-11-17 13:53:12

Wat about Suburbia?

johnny - 2010-01-16 21:42:45

@Hunter Your comment makes no sense, it's a paradox. You're basically saying it's imposable to not conform because you're conforming to not conforming.

Dublin Johnny - 2010-02-07 19:59:20

'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner'? ....Tom Courteney at his finest. What do you mean ....Tom who???

PLatipuss - 2010-03-03 23:05:41

Yes, Withnail and I should've been there, i've never hear of anyone who had heard about this film.

Claire - 2010-04-01 13:35:57

It's just the top ten if there was a top twenty you could complain about movies like SLC Punk not being on there. I can say I've seen every single one of those movies on this list and I think it's pretty damn good.

Eh - 2010-06-05 22:22:15

Conformity is relative.

YElloLizard - 2011-01-19 12:03:10

Never mind what non-conformity is. Is it significant? That's the question. Then we can establish whether it's life preserving or life furthering. When it's nothing other than a relative position, then you have to pretend that the whole world has disappeared and you are left alone, and then what? You're just some douchebag with obscure clothing, music, etc.

Scanner - 2011-01-24 10:28:26

YELL, you missed the mark. It's not about what you wear or listen to, it's about who you ARE. Being a nonconformist really relies on a person's rejection of traditional values/ways of life that demand a person must fall in sequence with the rhythm of the established world. A true non-conformist really gives less than a good shit what others think of them and puts more thought into intellectual freedom than freedoms gained through the system they are constantly under attack from.

Atom - 2011-09-05 11:39:29
please add films from uber-nonconformists Jodorowsky & Tarkovsky
Isis Dax - 2012-07-28 12:29:04

This is a really stupid list.

AnonMouse - 2012-07-30 21:39:27

This list is bad and you should feel bad.

Rissa - 2012-07-31 22:56:18

lol @ Amy! 4 of these movies the characters are inspired by Thoreau to do what they do... cause he's a total bad ass.

Jane - 2012-08-21 02:25:13

All these movies are about white men. Dumbass.

Falcon41 - 2012-08-29 00:38:52

I have to agree with personman: TAXI DRIVER has to be on this list. There was never a more alienated antihero than Travis Bickle.

NM Gin - 2012-08-29 02:08:57

Non-conformity is a luxury for attention-seekers crying out, "Look at me, see how different and cool I am!" Most of the people in the world are born, scramble around for sustenance and a chance at the gene pool, then they die. Try not conforming to that.

Snake Plissken - 2012-09-02 22:11:50

Non-conformists are more likely to get laid, have lots of money, and be awesome dinner party guests. True story.

Patrick Toft - 2012-09-03 16:09:03

God Bless America. Great film Some of the best quotes I've heard in a film.

Stephanie - 2012-09-04 00:18:25

I immediately thought of Equilibrium...

Bananar - 2012-09-05 21:22:43

Apparently only men are nonconformists. Go figure.

Anonymous - 2012-09-07 18:39:55

What about Boondock Saints?

Lesley S. King - 2012-09-08 11:09:54

Great list, and how about some of the females such as those in Thelma and Louise; Girl, Interrupted; Fried Green Tomatoes; and Pride and Prejudice.

whocares - 2012-09-10 11:57:52

You're all idiots. We shouldn't sit here in out desk chairs and critique someone else's level of rebellion. It makes us sound like winers. Besides, its fiction. Whats the point in arguing with strangers about something so trivial? Go out and conform or don't. Be happy. Change the world.

kilfired - 2012-09-22 02:40:10

Wild at Heart definitely. Because Sailor is sooo conformist that he is NOT.

s - 2012-09-25 21:04:59

pretty sure a movie about a club would be a movie about people who conform....jssayin.

bekkahhhh - 2012-09-25 23:01:59

i think one other person mentioned this film but "if...." should be on there. great movie.

peacegrandma - 2012-10-20 15:40:25

The Great Debaters, and Freedom Writers

square - 2012-10-21 13:43:02

taxi driver.... definitely a top ten nonconformist film

stella - 2012-10-28 00:00:14

Actually these guys are conformist

Anonymous - 2012-10-29 14:18:31

you just happened to list many of my all-time favorite movies

starlett - 2012-11-06 00:22:08

actually SLC punk is pretty conformist because they buy into the whole punk image, they think they have to act and talk and rebel a certain way to not give in. but in the end the woman he falls in love with totally opens his eyes. he was in fact a conformist.

allie - 2012-11-11 20:35:12

wow you all suck. it's just a list about movies in which people don't follow the rules to their specific areas. like shut up.

Jennie C - 2012-11-29 11:30:52

Interesting that only one of them--Harold and Maude--focuses on a nonconformist woman, and that woman apparently has to be old before she's acceptable as a nonconformist role model.

BrokeN2 - 2012-11-30 12:43:51

For me it would be The Dead Poets Society. Which one would you pick? Which one changed or challenged your life.

B Adrian White - 2012-12-03 17:50:50

I think it is pretty simple. You'll know you are not conforming when either no one likes you, or no one pays you any attention. Belonging to a subculture only means you have found a group that isn't the mainstream to belong to and you will conform to their rules. And that is okay. What's wrong with belonging where you want to belong? Of course that can lead down the rathole of freewill vs. pre-determinism. Yikes! Are you kidding me? Peace...if you like.

KorhanAfsar - 2012-12-03 19:58:39

And...for me it would be INTO THE WILD *****

Adam - 2012-12-08 14:37:00

I liked the comments that suggested other great, but utterly forgotten, movies to watch. Check this out: A THOUSAND CLOWNS A brilliant and yet heartbreaking portrayal of every real man's struggle against having a required place in the system, and how creativity and carefreedom are inevitably lost... and for love. They get you through your love....

Reg - 2012-12-15 15:54:40

All of these films are about white men. Are white men the only ones allowed to be nonconformists?

Lynnette - 2012-12-18 01:31:21

I have seen all the 10 top except the Fight Club.

Juliana - 2012-12-19 01:26:17

Thoroughly fails the Bechdel Test. I'm with Reg. Where's a list with a little more diversity?

theoutlawjournalist - 2013-01-04 08:02:15

Salo by Pasolini. Everything else is just pretending.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - 2013-01-04 15:26:13

The most noncomformist musical of all time.

Depth-Charge.Ethel - 2013-01-10 08:04:46

I liked this list very much. I would have considered The Network in this list too. Specifically because of this great scene:

jocelyn314 - 2013-01-12 16:44:26

Wait ! what about THE GRADUATE?????? so many good ones :-) "Plastics"

Idiot - 2013-01-19 06:50:42

Wow. This is really something. Finding "nonconformists" that conform to the definition of nonconformity. Sheer genius! "Dad, when I grow up I wanna be just like all the other nonconformists. I'll make you proud." Pay attention, kiddies. The nonconformists are in prison, in church, or dead.

weezie - 2013-01-19 10:17:54

Hey, I've seen 9 out of 10, all great. Got to put Fight Club on Netflix.

#3333 - 2013-01-30 19:29:10

If you look at random chaos long starts to form a pattern If there be a God or even aliens of another planet, I truly hope they would not be giving much attention to this nonconformists/conformists dialog, and interpretations of a script. Too much time is given to Chatter.

duhitsabirthmark - 2013-02-10 13:58:12

Groundhog Day is the greatest movie ever made about Non-conformism, because it shows that the true non-conformist is the person who DOES all the things that other folks just hide away inside themselves. Go open your heart and do the things that truly matter to you, and who cares what others value? That is real Non-conformism.

addition to the list - 2013-03-30 08:59:05

I think that big trouble in little tokyo should be on this list. At least time bandits....

elaren - 2013-04-02 02:17:12

All males.

richard cranium - 2014-02-22 00:09:09

where is the ''Outsiders'' king of nonconformist films?

Anonymous - 2014-08-10 02:42:02

How has no one mentioned a clockwork orange?

Anonymous - 2015-09-09 05:57:13

What about the rocky horror picture shows?

Steven Root - 2015-11-30 07:01:18

Sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays.

Timothy Sexton - 2018-03-27 05:12:22
Murray Burns---A Thousand Clowns. Mollymauk--Lord Love a Duck. (Dead Poets Society? REALLY?)
farleydave3 - 2018-06-07 20:18:15
Add HESHER to the list.